This recipe is based on one I found in Rachael Ray’s magazine (I don’t like RR–can’t stand her use of “yum-o”, “stoup”, “sammies” and “EVOO”–and I find her recipes are not reliably well written and the results are often unappealing. I bought the magazine subscription through a fundraiser and only for that reason.) All of that said, the November issue included a recipe for meatballs that sounded appealing for the cooler weather. However, the recipe called for a whopping 2 cups of bread crumbs. Against my better judgment–I followed that suggestion and should not have. The recipe below reflects a reduced amount of bread crumbs and perhaps even less should be used. I also used Italian sausage rather than ground pork. And although this was touted as a 30 minute recipe, I needed way more time–grating the onion, garlic and my fingers and then trying to find a band aid took me at least that long!
Meatballs in Tomato Sauce
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
2 to 3 tablespoons milk
3/4 pound ground beef
1/2 pound sweet Italian sausage, removed from casings
About 2 ounces prosciutto or pancetta, finely chopped
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup fresh ricotta, drained
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1/4 cup grated parmesan or romano cheese
1 large egg, beaten
1 teaspoon fennel seed (I’d use more next time)
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper (I used much less)
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves, lightly crushed
About 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
About 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
a generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, grated
1 small onion, grated
Position a rack in the center of the oven; preheat to 475°F degrees.
In a small bowl, combine the breadcrumbs and milk; set aside. In a large bowl, combine the meats and season with salt and pepper. Add the ricotta, parsley, 1/4 cup grated cheese, the egg, spices, a generous drizzle of olive oil and the grated garlic. Stir in the moistened breadcrumbs and mix to combine. Divide the mixture into 4 equal portions; divide each portion into thirds and roll each into a large meatball, to make 12 meatballs. Bake on a rimmed nonstick or parchment-lined baking sheet until just cooked through and slightly crispy, 16-18 minutes.
Serve with your favorite tomato sauce and a generous sprinkling of grated parmesan and a nice crusty piece of bread to sop up the sauce.
The meatballs aren’t pretty, so no picture of them!